Adventures in the golden mountains of Utah
- Posted On
- Jun 12, 2013
By Jane and Julia Reynolds –
"Lean into your turn Mom!" my daughter yelled from behind as I soared through another smooth switchback! The golden fall leaves crackled under my tires as I tapped lightly on my brakes and easily coasted along. We were out on one of my favorite mountain bike trails, the Mid-mountain or, known to some locals, as the 8,000 foot trail in Park City. The Mid-mountain combines all the ingredients to make conditions perfect and enjoyable for a casual rider of my ability. From picturesque views around every corner to encourage my pedaling, miles of endless singletrack, occasional historic mining landmarks with detailed descriptive signs. When we hit the final downhill, I felt confident and comfortable on smooth flowing terrain!
I had entered into the sport of mountain biking only 6 years ago, despite owning a bike all my life. I have always felt comfortable pedaling a bike, but the sport of riding up and down mountains is new to me. Now, mountain biking is most exhilarating for me. My daughter also caught the bug when she moved to Park City. The trail system here is interwoven across the three ski and summer resorts and connects many other trails across the region. Today, this memorable autumn ride marked the beginning of our incredible three day adventure.
Each summer I venture from the Northeast to visit my daughter, Julia who lives year-round in Park City. Together, we bond with adventures in the mountains and streams of this charming historic town. It feels almost magical that we are able to share exciting outdoor experiences in the mountains together. I have grown to enjoy and try sports while vacationing with her that I would not normally attempt in my hometown.
This year was particularly special - residing in the glorious Stein Erickson Lodge, nestled in the middle of the mountains at Deer Valley Resort. All summer long we were excited - anticipating our weekend adventure. Upon arrival, all expectations were exceeded. The Five Star, Five Diamond Stein Erickson Lodge has perfected service and crafted luxury with mountain chalet flavor. No detail is left unnoticed. Our room was a soothing combination of rich natural colors, spiced with a traditional European flair. From the mountain landscape views to every corner complimented with garden flowers, even moving through the walkways of this hotel was exquisite.
After sipping an enjoyable cup of coffee on the back patio of the lodge while searching for traces of wildlife during the early morning light, we set off on the next adventure. We were both going to try flyfishing for the first time. We were intrigued from hearing the Provo River referred to as one of the premier blue-ribbon trout fisheries of the world, boasting over 7,500 fish per mile! Our outfitter, Trout Bum 2, got us completely ready for the adventure with all the gear and day licenses. The first step was to pick out our flattering equipment: rubber waiters and water boots. My daughter poignantly grinned from ear to ear and stated "fishing is not a fashion statement." Then, with our trusty guide Bransford providing transportation, we set off on the adventure to the Provo. The drive alone was scenic and enjoyable, as the entire backside of the Wasatch Mountain Range became our backdrop.
The mountains only intensified in beauty as we started our hike down the river, searching for the best angling spot. As a hawk soared above, we felt the babbling cold water of the stream flow beneath us. Bransford showed us how to peer under rocks and look in the banks of the riverbeds to assess the type of larvae and bugs moving about. This would clue us into the trout's available menu for the day and thus select the appropriate rainbow of lures to place on our lines. After a few rounds of practice casting, I felt completely accomplished at waving the rod and line in a delicate rhythm. I was the conductor to my own fishing symphony--- feeling an occasional fish tug when my extended arm moved in perfect fly mimicry. Julia was not as successful with mastering the casting craft, but I could tell she was enjoying the experience just being settled next to the river in this gorgeous location.
Returning to the Stein Lodge that afternoon, we both had massages scheduled at the Spa. Never have I been so ready to relax and unwind. Stephanie, the delightful massage therapist, had tiny yet firm fingers that she kneaded into my lower back and eased away some of my aches. I felt completely relaxed, my thoughts turned to take in the soft music that created a vision of blissful watercolors. Upon completion of the rejuvenating massage, I was reunited with Julia in the quiet relaxing room. After enjoying a sweet cup of tea, we agreed that we felt like we were glowing and the soaking tubs and glorious sauna were going to see their next visitors.
That night we ventured out to the historic downtown main street of Park City, courtesy of the thoughtful guest shuttle provided by the Stein Erickson Lodge. Our dinner reservation was at Prime Steak House and Piano Bar. After our activities of the day, I was craving a top-notch prime filet. We settled into the comfy atmosphere of the Piano Bar, with glasses of a wonderful vintage Napa Valley Cabernet selected from their extensive wine list. Our dinner started with a seared Ahi tuna appetizer complimented with a mustard sauce, fresh and delightful. Next came a light summer local goat cheese salad with red and golden beets. The entree highlight was easily my tender yet flavorful 8oz filet, grilled to perfection. We enjoyed the last of our bottle of wine listening to the musicians skillfully performing one of my favorite Van Morrison tunes.
That evening we had a deep sleep- effortless in the soft sheets of the Stein Lodge. Our day slowly started as we rounded up our bikes for one final day of adventure. We headed to the Canyons Resort to extend our downhill riding, accessed by a gondola lift to the top. I handed my bike off to the loader and he attached it on an external hook alongside our gondola cabin. I was amazed at the sheer beauty of the lift ride alone with a full panoramic aerial view of the Park City area! We gathered our bikes and Julia prepped me for this new ride, highlighted by more roots and rocks than the trails we had previously encountered. I grew nervous knowing the nimbleness required for this upcoming adventure. But her caution was just to keep me on my toes, as I followed her line effortlessly across the first rock garden. I could feel my full suspension bike absorbing the terrain as it was designed to do. It was a long way to the base area, but we rode, rubber side down, every minute of it! The trail was every bit the challenge Julia had forewarned but, combined with breathtaking views of the blazing fall colors, highly enjoyable!
After our exhilarating final bike ride, we scurried to the deck of the Stein Erickson Lodge for the last warm glow of the afternoon sun. While taking in the gorgeous view, I relished in a well-deserved glass of oaky chardonnay and the ice tinkling in the glass of my daughter's Cosmo—perfection. Together we reminisced and laughed on the joys of the weekend's adventures. Obvious to both of us, next summer we would carry on the vacation tradition creating great memories and continue to explore the opportunities that this incredible place has to offer.